Review continued from Part I
Scene 30: With Rick, he's returned to the park where he picked up the bike. It becomes obvious that he's looking for the Bicycle Woman Zombie.
Scene 31: Back at the house, Morgan tells Duane he's going upstairs for a bit. He takes the scope-included rifle that Rick gave him.
Scene 32: Rick strides through the park.
Scene 33: At the upstairs of the Drake home, Morgan is going through the suitcase of photos that Mrs. Jones had dragged with them during their retreat.
Scene 34: Rick continues through the park, looking for walker-halfwoman.
Scene 35: Morgan pulls out a photo of his grinning wife. He looks at a photo of the two of them and gets teary eyed.
Scene 36: Rick walks. Morgan pins up photo of smiling wife.
Commentary: Rick's part in this is kinda drawn out too much. Obviously director-guy is playing compare/contrast between Rick putting down Bicycle Woman and Morgan putting down his wife... but Rick walks on and on and on. It is the first time of many where my attention is pulled away from the dramatic moment because I'm thinking about how stupidly anti-survival our character's actions are.
In this case, not only is Rick seemingly walking for blocks and blocks from his cruiser to find Bicycle Woman out of a sense of pity - which, y'know, all human moment and all - but then he's going to kill her in a nice noisy way after he's already been warned that noise draws them. I hope those Trooper Cowboy Boots are really comfortable for running, because I have a feeling he's going to need to haul ass to get back to his car after he's done drawing every zombie in the park right to him.
Plus, it's hard to feel anything about Bicycle Woman but a distant sympathy. What we really want to see if Morgan and his wife and if he's finally able to do what he feels like he has to before he can allow himself to leave for the safety of Atlanta. I wish we'd had less of the cutaways to Rick unhurriedly strolling through the park.
Scene 37: Rick finds the half-zombie and kneels down next to her grasping, gasping, crawling self.
Scene 38: Morgan sets up his rifle in the upstairs bedroom and whistles to get a zombie's attention. He shoots him and lines up his next target.
The zombies note the noise. Downstairs, Duane shouts up to his dad, but Morgan warns him to stay downstairs. Morgan sits on the mattress in the living room and covers his ears. Morgan practice shoots more zombies, through his tears. He summons Jenny to come in front of the house.
Scene 39: In the park, half-zombie continues weakly gasping and crawling. Rick gets teary, now, too.
Zombie Woman acts too weak to even make a serious attempt to reach for him. He tells her that he's sorry this happened to her. He pulls out his gun and puts a bullet into her eye. It's the kindest thing, ever.
Scene 40: In front of the house Jenny Jones stumbles. Morgan takes a deep breath and lines up a shot through the scope. But, she's seemingly seeing his shape through the upper window, because she looks up right at him as he tries to get the nerve to fire.
At first, he collapses in tears, but talks himself up into lining up a second shot. At the same time, Jenny Zombie has lost attention and she turns away to start wandering away again.
Morgan collapses into sobbing as he can't bring himself to shoot his wife, as she continues to wander off down the block.
Commentary: Wow. Seriously, Lennie was the best actor in this episode and this scene actually has me in tears. He's amazing and the score is perfect.
Scene 41: Rick strides away from the shot Bicycle Woman.
Scene 42: Rick is on the Highway. He transmits to anyone listening from the car.
Scene 43: We now join a camp of survivors. They pick up Rick's transmission and run for the radio to respond to his call for contact.
We quickly establish that the camp's radio isn't strong enough for Rick to pick up in his squad car. We also find that Shane is at this camp. We also see a woman looking concerned and a boy with her. We can jump to the conclusion that this will be Laurie and Carl. No one recognizes her husband as the radio caller.
It's dubious, but possible, considering the limited contact.
Laurie complains that there is somebody out there headed for the city and she's been wanting to set signs out for a week to warn them away.
Laurie has her panties in a twist because of Shane's tone in shooting down her going off to plant signs warning anyone who comes by not to go into the city and storms off. Carl tries to follow her, but Shane sends him off and goes instead. We already have a strong feeling that Shane is in charge of this group.
Scene 44: Shane reminds Laurie of how much Carl has been through and warns her that she can't just storm off half-cocked everytime she gets pissed at him. She reluctantly nods.
Laurie lets go of her anger and the next thing we know, she's kissing Shane! OH, NO!
Carl comes along, and fortunately makes enough sound to warn them that he's there before he's traumatized. Not so for us. Shane scurries out. Laurie assures Carl that she's not taking off for her one-woman sign crusade and then sends him back to finish up his daily chores for the camp.
Scene 45: In the patrol car, Rick pulls down his sun visor and we see a family portrait. Unshockingly, we find out that Laurie is Laurie and Carl is Carl and it's not a revelation, which is why I didn't bother trying to play coy.
Rick pops the trunk and gets out his bag o' supplies and a gas can. At first, I thought we were going to rejoin him in the opening scene, but no. Which is why I think that scene must have come just before this one. Now, Rick -- finally having run dry -- comes across a farmhouse, not a gas station.
Scene 46: He shouts to announce himself [i.e. see my annoyance at our characters for doing stupid things designed to draw zombies on top of themselves].
He wanders around the house, looking in windows, knocking and calling for anyone within to see if they might have some gasoline.
Commentary: And, the accent is starting to slip away there, Andy. Watch that.
He finds a couple of suicides and lots of flies. He doesn't bother opening the door.
Scene 47: Sitting on a small garden bench, he tries to pull himself together without heaving. His attention is drawn to a truck in the yard, but the keys aren't in it.
Rick is wondering what to do now, when he hears a horse snort. He gets a thoughtful look.
Scene 48: Now, where I would have held my breath and ran into the kitchen of the farmhouse hoping that the truck keys may be hanging on the wall, Rick chooses to try to bridle the horse in its paddock. The horse is skittish, but he calms him enough to saddle him up for a ride to Atlanta.
Rick tells the horse that its been awhile since he's rode. The horse has a sense of dark humor and takes off running to his growing sense of panic.
Scene 49: The horse seems to have run off its nervous energy by the time he's reached the outskirts of downtown. The scene isn't very comforting, but Rick urges the horse to continue.
Scene 50: In the city, Rick finds everything just as empty and quiet as his hometown. The horse clomps its way from one deserted street to the next.
They pass a bus with some dead bodies. But as they pass, the bodies animate and follow behind them.
Commentary: I don't know... I think I wanna call bullshit on this one. If they were just sitting on the ground, having dropped where they were wandering and the horse passed them lying on the street, that would be one thing. But, this seems just a little too much for them to have gotten back on the bus, taken a seat, and then had a nap until the horse happened to have passed right by them but not having stirred when the clop-clop-clop was approaching.
The horse gets skittery again, but Rick says its just a few of 'em and they can outrun them. He urges the horse forward as the two walkers follow behind.
Scene 51: Rick passes by a military checkpoint, but the equipment sits abandoned. There is a corpse lying across a tank because... apparently... the idiot didn't stay inside where it was safe.
Commentary: This scene also has a "The Stand" feel to it, but I think it is only because of the crows. The cawing crow over the dead body reminds me of that television miniseries.
Rick's attention is grabbed by a Mysterious Helicoptor going overhead and he sets the horse into a gallop in an attempt to get the high buildings out of the way so he can find where it came from, or where it is going to. This is the first sign of other human life that he's seen since leaving Morgan and Duane.
Unfortunately, Rick turns a corner right into a definite herd of shamblers. They know a juicy morsel when they see it and start lumbering en masse at him and the panicked horse.
Cloppity, cloppity... oh look, our exit is cut off by a secondary herd drawn to our noisy riding through deserted streets. Well, that's some pretty shit now.
Mr. Ed goes down and Rick goes off. In the confusion, he's able to crawl away, but horse is doomed to a hideous death. Thanks, Rick.
Scene 52: Meanwhile, Rick has to make a mad, crawling dash under the nearby abandoned tank and leave his bag o' supplies behind. He still has his service revolver, but that isn't going to last for long and he's way outnumbered by the amount of undead crawling under after his sweet meat.
Rick is just thinking of using a bullet through his noggin, when he spots the underdoor of the tank open right above his face. He's able to crawl up in it and close out the following hoard.
Scene 53: Inside with him is a dead corpse, but it's not animated, so he has some time to breathe and assess. Although, there doesn't seem to be much to assess unless he can figure out how to start and drive the tank.
He reaches over for the soldiers pistol, and this "wakes" up the dude. Not so inanimate after all.
Commentary: No. I call definite bullshit on this one. That timing it far too convenient... the dead dude didn't stir when the gunshots were going off right under his butt. He didn't stir when the tank hatch was slammed shut. He didn't stir when Rick crabcrawled back and sat right next to him, huffing and puffing away. He didn't stir when Rick grabbed at the pistol... but now that he's got it in his hand, NOW the soldier walker decides its hungry enough to move.
Rick quickly puts the gun under soldier's chin and pulls the trigger. This is effective against the zombie's brain, but it scrambles his own as well. You simply don't discharge a hand canon in the confines of a metal box. Sure, he missed the ricochet, but the sound waves are a killer.
He's sent into stunned ringing of the ears and immediate disorientation.
Scene 54: Rick makes it to the top tank hatch and clears his head enough to look for his bag of guns and ammo. It's right where he left it on the ground, and out of reach. He has to retreat back into the tank, when its swarmed by crawling zombies.
So, he's limited on ammo. He stuck in a box without ventilation with a dead body and no food, water or a bathroom. He's surrounded all around, including over and under. He doesn't know the first thing about driving a tank or how to start it, assuming it is operational.
Not a great position. Once again, he has to consider a 'no win' scenario.
At least until a voice comes on over the tank's radio giving him a little hope spot. Oh, and it wants him to know that he's a dumb ass.
Scene 55: Outside his metal tomb, the zombies do the usual gut ripping thing to the horse's insides with the typical fixation on the intestines.
Meanwhile, some of the more focused zombies continue pounding on the tank to be let in. Our viewpoint slowly zooms out to reveal that all of the streets surrounding Rick are filled with more of The Walking Dead....
The Good: I love that so much of the episode is without musical cues or a soundtrack in the background.
But, I also love the music when it plays under Rick putting down Bicycle Woman and especially the heartrending scene of Morgan lining up a shot on his wife, but being unable to pull the trigger.
I liked some of the directorial flurishes, especially the bizarre Rick-coma-POV and the hauntingly creepy view of Morgan's wife through the spyhole.
I really liked Andrew Lincoln's entire performance from when he wakes up, to when he leaves his home and collapses on the walkway after finding Laurie and Carl missing.
Obviously Bicycle Zombie Woman was exceptionally well done, as she proved arresting enough to get her own side story.
Lennie James was incredible. Heartbreakingly Incredible.
The Bad: Nothing is badly messed up.
Other Thoughts: As mentioned in the review, I really liked the graphic shooting of the little girl zombie, just because it sets the tone for the series. And, as mentioned, I also don't like the feeling that we're opening with this out-of-sequence scene just for this purpose.
The shootout with the bank robbers to get Rick shot was a bit too over the top. Especially Rick's shooter, who didn't even bother trying to make an actual escape.
The scenes at the camp aren't really needed for this episode, and they're a letdown after the tense and emotional scene of Morgan's and Rick's visit to the farmhouse. I wish we'd left this for later, really. The only thing we learn was that Laurie, Shane and Carl are alive... which would have been better as a standing question for an episode or two and that Laurie and Shane are getting it on which could also have waited.
I'm not going to put it in the bad, but some of the Convenient Zombie Behavior bugged me. Also, if characters continually run blind around corners and into zombies are shouting and generally making loads of noise to draw them right to them, you're going to start seeing some of these things shifting to The Bad. Right now, they're just a bit annoying.
The Score: This is a very strong series premiere with some real standout, emotionally effecting scenes. It really set the bar high and did exactly what it should have done.
4.50 out of 5
Next Review: Movie, "Dr. Cyclops" from 1940.